News

Boris Johnson slammed for cracking joke about Thatcher closing coal mines

06 Aug 2021 3 minutes Read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture by Chatham House (CC BY 2.0)

Boris Johnson has been slammed for cracking a joke about how Margaret Thatcher closed coal mines.

Former Welsh Government Minister Alun Davies, the MS for Blaenau Gwent, was incensed by the UK Prime Minister’s comments and behaviour during a trip to Scotland and said he was “not fit to govern”.

More than 25,000 Welsh mineworkers lost their jobs in the decade-long programme of pit closures following the miners’ strike.

Johnson was asked about decommissioning of oil and gas fields and he brought up the pit closures in the 1980s which he said provided “a big easy start”.

During a virtual media call with Scottish journalists, he was said to be chuckling when he spoke about the pit closures which devastated mining communities across Scotland, Wales and England.

At the time he was taking questions while on a boat in the North Sea to look at renewable technology.

After being asked about transitioning from oil and gas and setting a deadline for decommissioning, he compared the move from oil and gas to renewable energy to the switch from coal.

He said: “Look at what we’ve done already.

“We’ve transitioned away from coal in my lifetime, thanks to Margaret Thatcher who closed so many coal mines.”

According to journalist taking part, he can be heard laughing, before adding: “Across the country we had a big early start and we’re now moving rapidly away from coal all together.”

‘Condemnation’ 

His comments have led to a torrent of condemnation.

Alun Davies MS said: “When he laughs at the closure of the pits he also laughs at the suffering of our communities.

“He is not fit to govern.”

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster Leader, Liz Saville Roberts, the MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, added: “The PM’s alleged levelling-up agenda?

“Vulnerable communities seeking to shift from fossil fuel employment can expect to be as dispensable to Boris Johnson as mining communities were to Maggie Thatcher.”

Former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne wood said: “No, Thatcher didn’t close the pits because she wanted to reduce carbon emissions.

“She did it to kill an industry, a powerful trade union & she ended up dealing a severe blow to our strong communities. It still hurts. Ditch the crap jokes. No one’s laughing.”

Former First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “30000 men lost their jobs in Wales alone. Communities were devastated. Family members were turned against each other. A Tory govt did nothing to help them. Mining runs deep in my family. This comment belittles all those who suffered between 1984-5.”

His comments were also denounced by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who said: “Lives & communities in Scotland were utterly devastated by Thatcher’s destruction of the coal industry (which had zero to do with any concern she had for the planet). To treat that as something to laugh about is crass & deeply insensitive to that reality.”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
26 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Let us not beat about the bush, this slime ball urinates in the face of millions of people and laughs as he does it…the Bullingdon way.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

The heartlessness and cruelty of the Tories is fully exposed every time he opens his mouth. However, every comment he makes ensures we will gain independence quicker – Unionism is dead with Johnson in power.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Good, keep it coming B J.

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

It’s dead whether he’s in power or not.

Wrecsam Iain
Wrecsam Iain
1 month ago
Reply to  Quornby

I think the voters in the last Senedd election might disagree there.

#1Chris
#1Chris
1 month ago

And yet the new Blue Wall oop Nurth of ‘tEngland will still vote for the entitled pig.
“Eeee! ‘e laffed at me grandda’ looozin’is job, but ‘e got brexit doon like.”

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  #1Chris

Fully agree, they’ll still vote for him because the idiots (for that is what they are) are convinced that he is somehow ‘on their side’ just like they are convinced that Nigel Farage (that other lying, cheating, self-serving, manipulative scumbag) is on their side and ‘one of them’ because he goes to a pub and smokes a fag whilst drinking a pint. I don’t get why they dislike Labour for being ‘too cosmopolitan’ (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean – perhaps some of the thicko Bojo fanboys think that Keir Starmer likes reading women’s magazines). I’m not a huge… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

While the North may like BJ a bit, southern England now finds him a tad crude.
We may see Liberals taking more seats than expected. Emptying shelves will
also hit comsumers in both England and Wales, causing some serious drift.
The media will have a difficult time explaining that away, and newspaper sales
may consequently drop sharply, so now is the time to make ready.
Yes Cymru supporters, your work is about to begin in earnest. Prepare.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  j humphrys

There are two types of people in Britain: Remain supporters and Carrots.

The Brexit supports will blame the empty shelves on Covid and deny that Brexit has anything to do with it. Alternatively, they may try to blame it on the EU because of course it is always the fault of Johnny Foreigner.

The Brexit supporters will never accept that Bojo’s ‘oven ready’ deal is a bad deal.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

They are already doing as you say, and Trolls infesting this site use it till the elastic breaks.
But we are on the cusp of real trouble and the Tories are preparing for an early General Election as they can see it coming.
Prepare to give Tory supporters in Wales a very hard time!

Cymro newydd
Cymro newydd
1 month ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Welsh Tories? No such thing. Not if they are truly Cymry.

Wrecsam Iain
Wrecsam Iain
1 month ago
Reply to  #1Chris

I think Boris Johnson was wrong to say what he did.

For one thing, more mines were closed under Harold Wilson.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 month ago
Reply to  Wrecsam Iain

That’s correct. Johnson could equally well have cited Harold Wilson in order to make his offensive and insensitive remark, but since he was pretending that Thatcher closed the mines in order to protect the environment, it is unlikely that he would offer similar “praise” to a Labour Prime Minister.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
1 month ago

I don’t generally like character-bashing but I really don’t think Boris Johnson has morals.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mr Williams
Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

He has immorals.

#1Chris
#1Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

or character

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

One thing for sure, Maggie shut the mines and sh*t on their communities, Boris couldn’t shut a door properly but still get sh*t on his own hands. Absolute pig of a man. And that’s unkind to pigs !

Mark
Mark
1 month ago

Listening to the BBC Wales presenter Colette Hume twisting and squirming to support johnson’s comments is sickening, even after 37 years the bbc do their best to spin the story.And as for the people phoning in from “mining families” who think johnsons doing a good job, seriously need to give their heads a wobble

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

What do you expect? The BBC is Boris’s Broadcasting Conservatives. They’re very good at costume dramas and wildlife programmes but for news and current affairs I consider them less trustworthy than Sky News.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago

Bimey, I agree with Leanne!

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago

Factually incorrect as Thatcher’s imports of “dirty coal” from the communist bloc saw an increase in pollution. The calorific value was so low much more of it had to be burned and it was highly polluting to begin with. They reckon it was killing a thousand a week in Poland.

#1Chris
#1Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Argentina and Chile were not “communist”

Wrecsan Iain
Wrecsan Iain
1 month ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

They reckon it was killing a thousand a week in Poland.

In which case they would have wiped out their entire population in…70 years?

Hannergylch
Hannergylch
1 month ago

The greenhouse effect was well understood by the 1980s, so the closure of the mines would have been justifiable on environmental grounds. The scandal was that the mining communities’ work ethic and social cohesion weren’t promptly re-invested in jump-starting a new renewables industry to replace coal-derived energy. Hence we now import solar panels from China and wind turbines from Denmark. Boris Johnson was probably inspecting the latter when he made his remarks.

Last edited 1 month ago by Hannergylch
Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago
Reply to  Hannergylch

Before they began to close the pits they first shut down the NCB research into fine-burn efficiency and carbon capture.
Just as they shut down blood products research before importing Aids and Hep C from American prisons.
Just as they closed Warren Spring research into traffic pollution on behalf of car makers. Just as… Oh, I can’t be bothered.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago
Reply to  Hannergylch

But we all know the mines were not shut for environmental reasons but because they were unprofitable and it’s profit before anything else where the Tories are concerned. The real cruelty lies, as you started to mention, in the UK Gov not investing in the communities afterwards, just letting them rot. Neglecting them because they saw no profit in helping them. The Tories will always but money first.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.